Central Missouri Community Action Needs Funding

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COLUMBIA - Due to a lack of funding, representatives from the Central Missouri Community Action center said Thursday they are having to turn away any "repeat callers" who need assistance with their utility bills.

Executive Director Darin Preis told KOMU 8 News the center receives a certain amount of money each year from the government in September or October, and how they use the money is dependant on the weather and the temperatures in Missouri. He said because of weather concerns, the center used up all of its funds in December, quicker than they anticipated.

"This year, we had just over half of the amount of funding that we had last year, and that funding ran out by January 1st. We went through it very quickly, and even before it got really cold in the winter, we were out of funding for that program," Preis said.

But volunteers at the CMCA said they are concerned about more than just the loss of utility funding.

The Central Missouri Community Action center hires many volunteers to lead employment, training and family programs. Donna McGee, one of the volunteers, told KOMU 8 News losing these programs could mean a loss of jobs.

She also said she is worried about how those low-incone families will be able to fair in this cold weather without their utilities.

"They wonder where they are going to go to get the assistance they need to keep their heat on," McGee said.

Preis said the center currently helps about 3,000 low-income individuals throughout eight counties in Missouri. He told KOMU 8 News these funds are not given out to customers when needed, but rather the center deals with the utlities companies directly.

He also said he anticipates receiving more funding soon, but cannot place an exact date on that funding. He said CMCA will release an official public press release to let everyone know when this funding will be available. He also encourages everyone to donate what they can in the meantime.